Snapper Island

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Canada Bay City
Snapper Island, comprising the original sandstone area, fore and aft areas of made ground, a range of utilitarian buildings and maritime structures, is historically important as the primary expression of the Navy League UK, established at Drummoyne in 1921 by Len Forsythe, who saw the need to establish a voluntary training scheme for young boys, as naval cadets. The Sea Cadet movement is believed to be one of the oldest youth movements in the English speaking world.
The Snapper Island facility was officially opened on 26 November 1932 by Sir Charles Cox, on behalf of the Minister for Defence, as a living memorial to HMAS Sydney. HMAS Sydney, the first Royal Australian Navy ship to sink an enemy warship, the Emden, had been an inspiration to Forsythe. Snapper Island was the headquarters of Sydney's naval cadet groups and the Navy League from 1932 to 1977, and as such provided a voluntary step towards recruitment in the Australian Navy.
(Criterion A.4)
(Historic Themes: 6.3 Training people for the workplace, 7.7 Defending Australia, 8.9 Commemorating significant events)

Snapper Island is of exceptional interest as a privately initiated and seminal naval cadet training facility, as the earliest surviving Navy League training depot in NSW and for its ship-like planning and layout.
(Criterion D.2)

The Snapper Island training facility is recognised for its contribution to the landscape values of Sydney Harbour.
(Criterion E.1)

Snapper Island is highly valued by Sydney's naval cadet groups and the local communities for its symbolic, cultural, educational and social associations.
(Criterion G.1)

Snapper Island is closely associated with Len Forsythe, founder of the Navy League in Australia, and the driving force behind the development of Snapper Island as the focus of naval cadet training in Sydney.
(Criterion H.1)
Snapper Island is a 1.65-hectare island at the mouth of the Parramatta River located approximately 300 metres north-east of Birkenhead Point, Drummoyne and oriented in a north-east/south-west direction. Cockatoo Island lies to the north-cast and Spectacle Island to the north-west.
The building platform is retained in part by rubble stone walls and in part by concrete sea walls. On the south-eastern side the original foreshore outcrops survive to form part of the side of the ship shaped island below the Mess Deck Starboard Classroom and between buildings 9 and 10, the J Payne Memorial Building and Main Deck Museum. The upper level of the island includes the Port Waist and Rifle Range, the Quarterdeck and the site of the Main Deck which define the original island areas. The lower level includes the Forecastle Deck, After End and the sites of buildings 3-6, 7-9 and 14. The Port Waist and part of the Quarterdeck are cement paved in common with areas between buildings 9-10. Capstan Flat comprises lawn and concrete pathways.

The island was planned to reflect the layout of ships at sea, the Main Deck building flanked by Port and Starboard Waists with Quarter Deck and After End at the stern and the Forecastle Deck at the prow. The Officers Accommodation is clearly separated from other ranks and closely associated with the Signal Station and Quarterdeck towards the stern. The Port and Starboard wharves (Items 1, 15), which provide access, are of timber construction as is the slatted boat Whaler ramp adjacent to building 6 (the Boatshed, Workshop and Store) and a number of walkways. The Baths and Tidal pools have collapsed. The main approach to the island on the north western side is identified by the two cabbage tree palms planted in the 1930s and the Officers accommodation. Buildings, which define the islands naval superstructure, and illustrate its cadet and museum roles, include the following.

Guard House (Item 2)
Officers Wardroom Mess (3)
Generator Room (4)
Mens and Womens Toilet Blocks (5, 7)
Boat Shed, Workshop and Store (6)
Gymnasium (8)
J Payne Memorial Building (9)
Main Deck-Museum (10)
Mess Deck-Starboard Classroom (11)
Signal Station (12)
Officers Cottage (14)
Flammable Store (16)

These main buildings which define the ship-like planning and layout are predominantly corrugated galvanised iron and timber, with a combination of hipped and skillion roof forms. A signal mast adds to the maritime character.

Other features illustrating the training role of the island include boat davits, a capstan, derricks, bollards and winches and signal masts. Other site features include a range of functional items from shipping, a memorial to Captain Bligh, cannon, anchors, a steam engine, naval field guns, gun barrels from Hood, Repulse and Renown, and the 1932 foundation stone laid by Miss Charles Fairfax on 21 May 1932. The island also contains a number of individual items of note including the original Austral petrol driven electric generator of 1931.

A small area of the original rock outcrops of the island remain which may contain archaeological evidence of former uses.